How do we best synergise climate mitigation actions to co-benefit biodiversity?

Pete Smith* (Corresponding Author), Almut Arneth, David K A Barnes, Kazuhito Ichii , Pablo Marquet, Alexander Popp, Hans-Otto Pörtner, Alex D. Rogers, Robert J. Scholes, Bernardo Strassburg, Jianguo Wu, Hien T. Ngo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


A multitude of actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural and modified ecosystems can have co-benefits for both climate mitigation and biodiversity conservation. Reducing greenhouse emissions to limit warming to less than 1.5 or 2°C above preindustrial levels, as outlined in the Paris Agreement, can yield strong co-benefits for land, freshwater and marine biodiversity and reduce amplifying climate feedbacks from ecosystem changes. Not all climate mitigation strategies are equally effective at producing biodiversity co-benefits, some in fact are counterproductive. Moreover, social implications are often overlooked within the climate-biodiversity nexus. Protecting biodiverse and carbon-rich natural environments, ecological restoration of potentially biodiverse and carbon-rich habitats, the deliberate creation of novel habitats, taking into consideration a locally adapted and meaningful (i.e., full consequences considered) mix of these measures, can result in the most robust win-win solutions. These can be further enhanced by avoidance of narrow goals, taking long term views and minimising further losses of intact ecosystems. In this review paper, we first discuss various climate mitigation actions that evidence demonstrates can negatively impact
biodiversity, resulting in unseen and unintended negative consequences. We then examine climate mitigation actions that co-deliver biodiversity and societal benefits. We give examples of these win40 win solutions, categorised as ‘protect, restore, manage and create’, in different regions of the world that could be expanded, upscaled and used for further innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2555-2577
Number of pages23
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number8
Early online date10 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note


We thank Yuka Otsuki Estrada for help in designing and producing the table, and all other authors of the IPBES-IPCC report on the scientific outcome of the IPBES-IPCC co-sponsored workshop on biodiversity and climate change (Pörtner et al., 2021) for cross-cutting discussions during preparation of this analysis. Although this paper is based on the report of the IPBES-IPCC co882 sponsored workshop, the views expressed here represent the individual views of the authors. We
would also like to thank the scientific steering committee of the IPBES-IPCC co-sponsored workshop, review editors, the IPCC and IPBES Secretariat, especially Anne Larigauderie, and Technical Support Units. In memory of our friend and co-author, Bob Scholes, who sadly died during the preparation of this synthesis, and who will be sorely missed by all.


  • Climate change mitigation
  • biodiversity
  • nature-based solutions
  • co-benefits
  • trade-offs


Dive into the research topics of 'How do we best synergise climate mitigation actions to co-benefit biodiversity?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this